Industrial robot sales have skyrocketed in the last two years. In 2015, 248,00 robots were sold globally. That number was 12 percent up from the previous year and made it a record year for industrial robotic purchases. By 2018, 2.3 million industrial robots will be employed in the world. These figures are according to The International Federation of Robotics in a study named 2016 World Robotic Statistics. 

Based on geographical positioning, the IFR conducted a study on which continents and countries spent the most money on industrial robotics in 2015. The results were as follows: 

  • Europe in 2015: 50,000 units ; 10% up from the previous year
  • America in 2015: 37,000 units ; 15% up from the previous year
  • Mexico in 2015: 5,500 units ; Sales more than doubled in one year 
  • Asia in 2015: 156,000 units ; 16% from the previous year 

China's industrial robotics sales grew by 17% compared to the previous year and are actively trying to secure the sales of industrial robotics companies. Recently, Chinese companies tried to buy German-run Kuka Robotics to further cement China as the leader in industrial robotics. 

The industries that reported the most sales in industrial robotics were:

  • The automotive industry: 95,000 units purchased in 2015
  • Metal industry: 63% more purchases than 2014 
  • Plastics and rubber industry: 40% more robots purchased in 2015 
  • Electronics industry: 16% rise in industrial robot purchasing 

The President of the International Federation of Robotics said: "The wave of digital transformation and automation will continue to drive the robotics boom forward until 2018. Revolutionary developments in IT connected with all aspects of the Internet of Things and new networked services are changing the producing industries fundamentally. Machines, logistics, and production plants are merging into integrated cyber-physical systems. The aim is to use smart factories to work more flexibly, more cost-efficiently and more productively." 

Why is there a big jump in the sale of industrial robots? The Head of Robotics for ABB, Per Vegard Nerseth: "People today don't want to do dull, dirty, dangerous and delicate jobs anymore, so many companies see when the older generation of factory workers retire they really struggle to get hold of people who wants to take up on those jobs." 

The elimination of repetitive tasks at industrial level was recently highlighted when Foxconn retrenched 65,000 human workers and replaced them with industrial robots. Companies want humans to work on higher-value elements in their jobs and minimize the amount of work that could easily be done by a robot. Therefore, the industrial robotics sales numbers for 2016 could be astronomical. 

Source: The International Federation of Robotics